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Natalia G. Golant
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), RAS, St. Peterburg, RUSSIA

The images of Russians and Russia in the works by Vasile Alecsandri

In the works by well-known Romanian poet, prose and play writer V. Alecsandri (1821–1890) the special attention is paid to the “Russian” theme that can be explained to a great extent by his political activity. As a son of Moldavia, Alecsandri was unindifferent to the situation in Bessarabia (that had been the part of Moldavia till 1812). For instance, we can feel his negative attitude to a Russification policy course in Bessarabia while reading the corpus of folklore texts “Songs from Bessarabia” (adapted by Alecsandri and published in 1852). The “Bessarabian” theme is lead in his poem “Fiind mai negru ca ţiganii…” (lit. “Being darker than the gypsy…”). This work is aimed as a biting response to A. Pushkin’s verses written during his staying in Bessarabia (1820–1823) and full of unflattering judging about Chisinau and the local society mostly consisting of aristocracy from Moldavia fled to Bessarabia after the Etaireia rebellion was suppressed in 1821. Still, we should note that A. Pushkin and his works influenced Alecsandri (e.g. Alecsandri got acquainted with Puskin’s “The Gypsies” through the prose translation into French by P. Mérimée). The “Russian” theme is prevailed in Alecsandri’s poem “March to Siberia” [Pohod na Sibir] that was inspired by the eponymous picture by Polish romanticist painter A. Grottger (both the picture and the poem describes the tragical fate of Polish exiled – the rebellion 1861–1863 participants). The poem „The Sergeant” (from the cyclus „Our warriors”) devoted to the Russo-Romanian brotherhood of arms during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878.

As a conclusion, we may say that Alecsandri in his works displays neither pro-russian nor anti-russian feelings – his attitude to Russia and the Russians depends on the given context.